For those who are newer to the world of search engine optimization (SEO), the primary purpose of SEO is to ensure your website is easily understood by users and search engines. While there is no specific, calculated formula guaranteeing your site will rank well on search engine results pages, you can take proactive steps to regularly ensure your site is optimized. Doing this will send positive signals to search engines telling them you are proactively managing your site and you understand the importance of SEO. With that in mind, let’s improve your site’s visibility in search results by examining 11 SEO mistakes that may be hurting your hotel site and determining the appropriate steps to correct these mistakes.
On-Page SEO Mistakes
Problem: By creating pages with low word counts and low quality, you are not providing users with useful information. Thin content isn’t valuable to site visitors and it makes it harder for the search engine bot to fully understand the purpose of the page. This indicates a lack of quality and relevancy to both the search engine bot and the user.
Solution: Implement high quality, well-developed content on your site. Consider the full scope of your page’s topic and perform keyword research to help determine a strategic way to incorporate keywords and relevant subtopics.
Problem: Reusing page content from one page to another may seem like a good idea. For example, when you create a new landing page, you may want to incorporate your well written page copy on other pages on your site. However, this is not considered a best practice and does not give the user a positive, unique experience. Hosting duplicate content on your site can send negative signals to the search engine bots, and ultimately can decrease your site’s authority.
Solution: Review your site content and look for new ways to highlight information you want to share with your potential guests. Conducting an on-page SEO audit will help you examine each page to ensure you have implemented a strategic keyword strategy and have written unique content.
Problem: Incorporating relevant keywords within your page copy and meta titles and descriptions is important. However, overusing the same keywords and keyword phrases is viewed as a blatant and lazy way to increase your page ranking. Search engine bots will recognize the overuse of a keyword and will penalize your site.
Solution: Conduct keyword research to determine the primary focus for each page of your site, and be sure to implement keyword variation within your page copy. This will make your page content more interesting, unique, and readable to users, and it will signal to the search engine bot that you understand the appropriate use and implementation of keywords.
Poor H1 & H2 Tags
Problem: Failing to use H1 tags is a critical error because the purpose of the H1 tag is to tell search engines what the content of your page is about. Header tags also serve as a formatting tool which guides the user through your page content. Likewise, using more than one H1 tag on your page is not a best practice because the search engine bot will select one H1 tag to represent your page and it may not be the one you want. This can lead to your site not performing as well as it could.
Solution: Implement one H1 tag per page that is clear to both users and search engine bots. Your H1 tag should define the main purpose of your page, while the H2 and H3 tags should support the H1.
Weak Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Problem: Using weak meta titles and descriptions will lead to a poor user experience and does not tell the search engine bot what your page is about. Meta titles help the search engine bot understand what your page is about so it can classify your page for search engine results. Meta descriptions provide you with the opportunity to tell the user a little bit about what the content of the page is about.
Solution: Use your keyword research as a guide when you develop your meta titles and descriptions. Your meta title does impact your ranking, while the description does not. Well written meta titles and descriptions will encourage users to click on your page, which indicates to search engine bots your page is correctly classified and relevant to users.
Missing, Incomplete, or Generic Alt Text
Problem: Alt text describes the content of an image, so the search engine bot can understand it. It is a significant missed opportunity to not include alt text on your images. Additionally, alt text originally was used for text only web browsers to know what the images were. They are also still used by applications to help the visually impaired use the web. Search engine bots use the alt text in a similar way, providing context for an image it can’t really see.
Solution: Review the images appearing on your pages in your CMS to ensure all alt text is filled in and accurately describes your images.
Off-Page SEO Mistakes
Ignoring Local Listings
Problem: Local listing sites include information about your hotel and if that information is missing or inaccurate it can confuse search engine bots. Maintaining consistent information about your hotel, especially your NAP (name, address, and phone number) across the internet, is very important. Search engines use NAP as a way to determine the accuracy of your business information on local listing sites. Ultimately, you want users to be able to quickly and easily find your business on local listings and you want the search engine bot to see that the information on your local listings (business name, phone number, address, photography, description, website URL) is consistent with the information on your site.
Solution: It is important to ensure your information is accurate and consistent across local listing sites. Performing an audit of your hotel’s appearance on local listings will help you identify inaccurate or inconsistent information. Once you know the information that needs to be updated, you can move forward with claiming your local listings and submitting updates.
Not Participating in Competitive Link Building Efforts
Problem: Search engines value a well-rounded link profile. When your site is listed on other websites, search engines understand other sites “approve” of your site which increases your page and domain authority. If you do not proactively build your link profile, you are missing opportunities to expand your online presence. This can indicate to search bots your site is not as relevant as other similar sites, which may be actively and regularly gaining new, relevant inbound links.
Solution: Competitive link building is a process in which you evaluate the links directing traffic to your competitors’ sites. By evaluating and reaching out to sites that your comp set is listed on, you are increasing your online presence and actively competing for business that your competitors are also targeting.
Failing to Identify Niche Link Building Opportunities
Problem: Similar to competitive link building, niche link building can be a great opportunity to increase your online presence. Local and relevant sites offer an opportunity to improve your link profile, which tells search engine bots your site is relevant within a local area or niche topic.
Solution: Identify local area sites and niche topic sites relevant to your hotel. Great examples of relevant niche sites are: wedding, meeting, conference, hospitals, pet friendly directories, and CVBs sites. Reach out to those site webmasters to request a link on their site.
Technical SEO Mistakes
Not Reviewing Your Site Speed
Problem: Site speed is important for the user experience because users expect your site pages to load in just a few seconds. If your site pages take a long time to load, users are less likely to land on your site and your conversion rate will suffer. Additionally, page speed determines how quickly the search engine bots can crawl and index your pages. Improving your site speed will allow the search engine bot to crawl and index your site pages more efficiently.
Solution: Use tools like GTmetrix and Google Analytics Speed Suggestions that can help identify opportunities to optimize your site by improving individual page’s load times.
Lack of Internal Links on Your Site
Problem: Internal links help the search engine bot better understand how pages on your site are related and relevant to one another. It also gives the user quick access to additional information they may be seeking.
When you do not have internal links on your site, the search engine bot does not have the opportunity to establish a relationship between pages within your site.
Solution: Look for opportunities to add appropriate internal links on your pages. Make sure the anchor text is descriptive and relevant to the page in which it is linking to.
Maintaining your hotel’s online presence is an ongoing process. There are always opportunities to improve your hotel’s SEO strategy due to the ever-changing nature of the web. Remember, above all it is important to optimize your hotel’s website for users. Your goal should be to engage them with your content so they check rate and book their stay at your hotel. By incorporating on-page, off-page, and technical SEO tasks into your online marketing plan, you will improve your search engine ranking and establish a better connection with your potential and returning guests. Take a look at your hotel site and determine if you have the opportunity to correct these 11 SEO mistakes. Feel free to contact our team to learn more about our SEO services and inquire about additional assistance with your hotel website.
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